Vapor Intrusion Experts. Soil and Groundwater Experts. Contamination Consultants.

220 West Gutierrez Street. Santa Barbara, CA 93101  |  (805) 880-9302

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Environmental Consulting Services

LEA Environmental, Inc. (LEA) is an environmental consulting firm, advising clients in the area of soil and groundwater remediation, vapor intrusion, water quality and environmental regulatory compliance. We are hydrogeologists, engineers and geologists who design and manage subsurface site characterization projects and soil and groundwater remediation programs. This work often entails negotiation with environmental regulatory agencies on behalf of clients. We also provide services to law firm clients, advising on technical aspects of environmental lawsuits and serving as expert witnesses. LEA provides services in the following technical disciplines: 

Environmental Disciplines

  • Subsurface characterization and remediation
  • Litigation support and expert trial testimony
  • LEA's distressed property program
  • Environmental advising for insurance companies
  • Vapor intrusion
  • Modeling and 3-dimensional subsurface visualizations
  • Data analysis and GIS mapping

Subsurface Characterization and Remediation

Environmental regulations such as CERCLA (i.e., "Superfund") and their state equivalents can be immensely complex and the cost of cleaning up contaminated sites routinely reaches into the millions of dollars. With so much at stake, clients deserve and need an experienced team to help navigate this process. Whether a dry cleaner, gas station, or massive industrial site, our goal is to make every dollar count toward the mutual goal of restoring the environment and satisfying environmental rules.

Remediation technologies are advancing at an exciting pace, requiring your consultant to stay current with ongoing research. Newer technologies involving in-situ remediation can greatly reduce both the duration and cost of remediation.

Litigation Support

Part of our practice involves litigation support in environmental cases. While it’s always been important, subsequent to the Daubert decision, the need for reliable expert testimony in civil trials has taken greater prominence. Couple this need with the increasing technical complexity of modern life (thus the parallel increase in complexity of issues tackled by the courts) and it is easy to appreciate the growing demand for experts who understand the legal framework, have impeccable credentials, and who can clearly communicate the significance of technical findings to attorneys, clients, and the trier of fact (judge or jury).

In recent years, LEA Environmental, Inc. has worked with approximately 20 law firm clients on cases involving disputes in excess of $500 million. Much of our work is repeat business from this stable and growing client base. The success of our practice grows from our thoughtful and responsive application of science and engineering expertise to real-world problems and from our reputation as national authorities in environmental science.

Environmental Advisors to Insurance Companies

Facing environmental claims from policy-holders, insurance companies must not only evaluate whether an incident is covered, but must also judge the merits, reliability and cost-effectiveness of proposed remedies. In our experience, estimates for such remedies can be wildly inaccurate. LEA helps insurance companies better understand the severity of contaminated sites, regulatory requirements for responding to these cases, and potential cost-saving alternatives to proposed remedies.

LEA's Distressed Property Restoration Program

  • A family inherits property later found to have soil and groundwater contamination.  
  • A small company is faced with burdensome environmental cleanup costs that threaten to drive it out of business. 

In many cases, the owner’s most significant asset is the impaired property itself which cannot be sold (due to contamination) and cannot be borrowed against (due to the uncertain cost of remediation). These cases languish for years, depriving the owners of the best use of their asset and depriving the community of needed environmental restoration.

LEA’s Distressed Property Program addresses this dilemma using creative remediation agreements to break the logjam and complete remediation, thus unlocking the underlying value of the property. Depending on the needs and priorities of the client, this may involve deferred compensation, “sweat equity” (i.e., we’ll trade environmental consulting work for part equity in the property), or fixed-fee, guaranteed remediation contracts. These are all approaches that limit owners’ risk and manage cash flow. We can also quantify environmental liabilities based on existing knowledge, incorporating technical and/or regulatory uncertainties.

Each case is different and each owner has unique needs, thus LEA partners with owners to craft a customized program. If you are a family or small business facing environmental problems or if you have a client in this situation, please contact us to discuss the Distressed Property Program.

Vapor Intrusion

Vapor intrusion refers to the phenomenon in which contaminated soil vapor is created by off gassing of volatile organic compound (VOC) contaminants in the subsurface (either in soil or groundwater or both). The soil vapor, in turn, migrates through the soil column and may enter into overlying structures.

The risk from vapor intrusion was poorly understood in the early days of environmental remediation. As a result, many sites that were closed long ago are facing the prospect of being reopened because earlier groundwater cleanup standards are now seen as not being protective for vapor intrusion. Our team is at the forefront of this fast-evolving issue and we are well-qualified to assist with sites involving vapor intrusion.

Modeling & 3-Dimensional Subsurface Visualizations

Concepts such as groundwater flow and subsurface contaminant migration can be very difficult to convey to laypeople. In addition, investigations at remediation sites often generate millions of data points. Without powerful database capabilities to organize and interpret this vast body of data, clients are poorly served. We utilize sophisticated software that is specially designed for 3-dimensional subsurface visualizations. These 3-D maps are powerful tools for both interpretation of the data and communication of our findings.

I am writing to acknowledge... Dr. Lorne Everett, for his fantastic pro bono service to Riverkeeper...
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Chief Prosecuting Attorney